Guelph faculty ratify agreement

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Opting for a two-year agreement to cover the remaining period under Bill 124 wage restraint, members of the University of Guelph Faculty Association (UGFA) received a one per cent cost of living increase for each year of the agreement. They also received increases in the Annual Career Increment in each year, as well as a lump sum performance increment of $1,100 each year. 

UGFA members saw an increase in their psychological services cap and expansion of the list of eligible providers to include occupational therapists. Coverage for paramedical services (Chiropractor, Osteopath, Chiropodist/Podiatrist, Acupuncture, Naturopath, Speech Therapist, Massage Therapist) is now pooled and per-visit maximums have increased. Vision care coverage also increased.

Members can now claim Professional Development Reimbursement (PDR) for two new expenses: open access publication fees and domain hosting fees. In a first of its kind, a new Letter of Understanding (LOU) provides for up to $20,000 in scholarship support to members on pregnancy or parental leave. While members on such leaves are not expected to work and there is no requirement to apply for such support, the scholarship is recognition of the fact that some members may need help maintaining their work while on leave.

On equity, a new joint self-identification survey will be conducted no later than June 30, 2024, to be used along with other data. Tenure and promotion results will be reviewed for members who self-identify as equity-seeking, compared to those who do not; and/or for those who have a Teaching Distribution of Effort (DOE) of at least 60 per cent compared to those who do not. A demographic analysis of membership is to be considered. All resigning members will be offered an exit interview with the Provost’s Office and may invite an Association representative to attend.

Another gain was the commitment (initially achieved through UPP consent bargaining) to set targets to increase faculty complement by 2024, with two-thirds of the target to be achieved by July 1, 2023 and the remaining third by January 1, 2024. Growth hiring is for tenure-stream and continuing-appointment stream members, and precarious contractually limited hires do not count towards the target. UGFA will be updated quarterly on the progress toward the target, with an arbitrator named if either target is missed.

In changes to performance evaluation, tenured members with an overall “Good” or better evaluation may opt out of the next biennial review. While opting out means no merit pay, this is a workload gain, as it saves members the work that goes into preparing for the evaluation.

The new agreement also saw several improvements in other areas including on workload, tenure and promotion processes, the re-designation of course evaluation surveys as student feedback questionnaires (SFQs) and information sharing (on partner accommodation appointments, credit courses taught by members and non-members, and Chair stipends). 

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